Eye injury sidelines Love

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 23, 2012 - 8:54 AM

Poked in the eye in his last game, Kevin Love couldn't make the flight to New York because he had to keep pressure off the eye.

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Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Oklahoma Thunder. wolves won 99-93. Wolves Andrei Kirilenko, left, came to the aid of teammate Kevin Love after Love was hit in the face late in the game.

Photo: MARLIN LEVISON, Star Tribune

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Once again, the Timberwolves' injury list got longer.

Kevin Love -- who appeared to have broken out of a shooting slump in Thursday's victory over Oklahoma City -- was poked in the eye late in that game. Because he had to keep pressure off the eye, he did not fly with the team to New York and will not play against the Knicks on Sunday, making it the 11th game this young season that the All-Star forward will have missed because of injury or illness.

"It's just an unfortunate thing," coach Rick Adelman said, echoing a phrase he has had to use far too often. "But hopefully, if he rests and doesn't do anything, we'll see how he is after Christmas."

The Wolves are hoping Love can play in Wednesday's home game against Houston.

"All I know is he has to be careful the next few days to make sure he doesn't do anything that causes pressure in his eye," Adelman said. "Hopefully it's just one game."

That leaves a Wolves team that, already without guard Malcolm Lee and still looking for ways to replace the injured Josh Howard, yet another man down. Adelman didn't say who would replace Love in the lineup, but it likely will be either Derrick Williams or Dante Cunningham. Williams started the first nine games of the season, when Love was sidelined after breaking two bones in his right hand doing knuckle pushups at his home.

Love returned to play in 11 consecutive games before injuring his thumb late in a Dec. 14 victory at New Orleans. He was set to return the next night, but an illness, not his thumb, kept him out of an overtime victory over Dallas in which point guard Ricky Rubio made his return from knee surgery.

Love played one of his best games of the season Thursday against the Thunder, hitting four of nine three-pointers on the way to 28 points, with 11 rebounds and seven assists.

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